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Renewal: How a New Generation of Faithful Priests and Bishops Is Revitalizing the Catholic Church Hardcover – December 3, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

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"Contrary to those who opine that the Catholic Church cannot attract a new generation to its pews without modernizing its traditional teachings, the authors argue that it is precisely a robust orthodox defense of the faith that wins the hearts of young people and begets vocations. This book is full of hope and encouragement for the future of the church."
--William E. Simon, Jr., professor, author, philanthropist, and businessman 

"All too often we Catholics can have a utilitarian approach to priests and bishops. Renewal is about gratitude. There are good and holy priests in our midst, serving Christ, teaching the faith, sacrificing for the salvation of souls. Praying for us! Pray for them! Be encouraged and work with them, in union with our Heavenly Father, following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This is an important snapshot of a beautiful counterculture, a recovering fatherhood. Renewal, indeed.
--Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor-at-large of National Review Online & director of Catholic Voices USA

"This is the most fully detailed and documented account of the culture wars within the Catholic Church that anyone is likely to encounter. Some may think the authors are too pessimistic, stressing all the contentiousness within the living body. Count me as one who holds that public contestation is the reliable sign of vital cultures and inspiring institutions. Both the bad news, honestly reported, and the 'less expected' good news here will make many readers rejoice."
--Michael Novak, author of Writing from Left to Right

"Hendershott and White are clear-eyed observers of the Catholic scene who offer the reader careful sociological analysis that leads to truly hopeful conclusions. Citing empirical and anecdotal evidence, they show the positive change the Church has been undergoing for some time--especially with the emergence of strong new leadership in the clergy--and they preview the Church we can expect our children and grandchildren to know. This book is real hope, without a hint of wishful thinking. I highly recommend Renewal.
--Scott Hahn, Professor of Theology, Franciscan University of Steubenville

"In Renewal, Anne Hendershott and Christopher White bring to vivid life an unexpected and momentous truth: it is orthodoxy, not heterodoxy, that will write the future of Catholicism. Their wonderfully wrought and prescient book is must reading for serious people, both inside the Church and out."
--Mary Eberstadt, author of How the West Really Lost God and Adam and Eve after the Pill

I won't waste time laying down yet another list of crises that have diminished Catholicism over the last half century. But is the decline as bad as it seems? Well, that's actually not the right question, especially since the probable answer is: yes, it's that bad. The better question is: Can the decline be halted, even reversed? Well of course it can, and there is ample evidence that the turnaround is well underway, which evidence is presented with authority by Anne Hendershott and Christopher White.
- Brad Miner, The Catholic Thing

About the Author

Anne Hendershott is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. Previously, she was a Distinguished Visiting Professor at The King’s College in New York City. She moved to The King’s College in 2008 after spending more than 15 years as a tenured full-professor of sociology at the University of San Diego. She received her PhD in Sociology at Kent State University in 1988, and was the James Madison Fellow at Princeton University in 2005. A frequent contributor to popular press outlets including Catholic World Report, the Wall Street Journal, Crisis, and others, she publishes frequently on issues of importance within the Catholic Church. She is the author of five previous books including Status Envy: The Politics of Catholic Higher Education (Transaction, 2009), The Politics of Deviance (Encounter Books, 2002), The Politics of Abortion (Encounter Books, 2006), The Reluctant Caregivers (Bergin and Garvey, 2000), and Moving for Work (University Press of America, 1994).

Christopher White is the Director of Education and Programs at the Center for Bioethics and Culture. He writes frequently on matters of public policy and social ethics, and is a regular contributor to many print and online publications, including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, National Review Online, Catholic World Report, Human Life Review, First Things, Public Discourse, and the National Catholic Register. He was awarded a 2013-2014 Robert Novak Fellowship. He lives in New York City.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books (December 3, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594037027
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594037023
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #365,393 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Devin Rose on December 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Renewal is a new book analyzing the conflict between conservatives and progressives within the Catholic Church in the United States over the past fifty years.

Co-written by Anne Hendershott and Christopher White, the book surveys the crisis that the Church has faced in our country since the Second Vatican Council. Why did vocations to the priesthood decline so precipitously for so long? What have dioceses done to reverse this decline? What has worked? What hasn't?

The book's premise is that orthodox bishops and priests are ushering in a new era in the Church, healing the damage that heterodox clerics have done over the past several decades. The authors convincingly prove their case. The proof is in the numbers, with vocations and renewal blossoming in those dioceses with solid bishops, while vocations continue to barely trickle in in dioceses with not-so-solid ones.

Many hot topics get good discussion and examination: the women's ordination movement (as well as the failed experiment of female "lay parish administrators" with priest as subordinate sacramental helper), the problem of universities that are Catholic in name only, the Obama administration's attacks on religious freedom.

While much of the book's content was known to me, nonetheless it was shocking to see it all collected in one place. The numbers don't lie. As all orthodox Catholics know, the only way to be fruitful is to remain on the vine of Christ. And we remain on the vine by obeying Him (see John 15). Those Catholics who have not obeyed Him have caused destruction within the Church, the effects of which will be endured for decades to come.

That said, the book's message is one of hope. The renewal that is going on in the Church is real and is growing.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Thomas M. Loarie VINE VOICE on February 16, 2014
Format: Hardcover
As program chair for the Catholics@Work ([...]) Annual Speakers Series, a ministry of the Diocese of Oakland (CA), I have had the opportunity of seeing the "new springtime of the Church" up close and personal over the past 13 years. It is a reality. There are thousands of evangelization initiatives undertaken and led by laity and clergy that are revitalizing the Church.

Authors Hendershott and White in "Renewal" focus solely on the priests and bishops that are revitalizing the Church. Hendershott is professor of sociology at Franciscan University , and White serves as Director of Education for the Center of BioEthics and Culture. Both are frequent contributors to national publications such as the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Catholic World Report, and the National Catholic Register. This book was written to share their excitement about the signs of renewal they are seeing in the priests and bishops of the Church.

The book examines the growing rates of ordination in certain dioceses, contrasts these dioceses with dioceses with low rate, and concludes that the more faithful the Bishop, the greater the rate of ordination. The bishop makes a difference. Effective faithful leaders create a thriving culture that inspires others to flourish. ..not unlike what is seen in the private sector. We are not seeing the death of the priesthood. The priesthood is once again becoming attractive to young men.
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"There is a growing list of today's bishops who have been willing to risk ridicule and ostracism to defend not only the priesthood but to be outspoken in defending the growing threats to human dignity that currently face us. Defending life at all stages from conception to natural death, defending traditional marriage as the union between one man and one woman, and defending the conscience rights of all are some of the major moral issues confronting today's bishops." --page 71

At long last orthodox Catholics have reason to stand up and cheer. It just could be that after five tumultuous decades the worm has finally turned. A new generation of transformational bishops and priests are committed to reversing many of the errors, misconceptions and outright heresies that have been promulgated by progressive Catholic theologians, writers, educators and clergy over the past fifty years. The trend is undeniable. Authors Anne Hendershott and Christopher White have been monitoring recent developments in the Catholic world and have compiled their thoughts and observations in an exciting new book "Renewal: How A New Generation of Faithful Priests and Bishops Is Revitalizing the Catholic Church". The evidence presented in this volume is convincing and overwhelming. It is not going to be easy nor will it happen overnight, but the groundwork is being laid for a revitalized Catholic church that is faithful to the Magisterium.

According to Hendershott and White there is little doubt that Pope John Paul II's historic 1990 encyclical "Redemptoris Missio" has served as one of the main catalysts for the revitalization of the Catholic Church.
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